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23 May 2006

A's-Quakes announcement on Wednesday

Updated: The Merc's Dylan Hernandez wrote an article on the MLS-A's deal. The A's bought a three year option on the Quakes, contingent upon a new SSS (soccer-specific stadium). MLS prefers that the team start playing when a new stadium is ready, which probably wouldn't be until 2008-09 at the earliest. Long-suffering Quakes fans would obviously prefer a 2007 launch.

A small blurb in
Mychael Urban's beat article for MLB.com and a report from Matchnight.com both point to an announcement on Wednesday in which the A's involvement in Earthquakes v 3.0 will be made official. Details are scarce, which leads to some potentially wild speculation about the respective futures of both the Quakes and the A's. Some possibilities (none of which are confirmed):
  • Quakes play at Spartan Stadium starting in 2007 (under new management for the next couple of years), until Spartan is either replaced or revamped (with the A's help).
  • Quakes play at a new Fremont stadium near the A's future Fremont ballpark.
  • Quakes and A's share a stadium (unlikely due to demands by both MLS and MLB).
  • Quakes play at a new stadium at the Diridon South site.
  • Quakes play at a new stadium in Santa Clara, either at Mission College or near Great America.
  • Quakes play at a new stadium in the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.
  • Quakes play in Oakland?
In all of these cases, the Quakes' interim home would probably be Spartan Stadium while another facility is spec'ed out and built (there is no current development process underway for a soccer stadium).

A conference call held by MLS commissioner Don Garber is scheduled for Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. PDT.

13 comments:

Kevin said...

ML,

Do you think Wolff is viewing this strictly as a business decision, or do you think there may be other reasons for aquiring the MLS rights to SJ?

Seems to me Wolff already has a lot on his plate with the potential move of the A's. Why get bogged down with trying to secure a site for a soccer stadium, along with everything else which comes with an expansion franchise.

Am I missing something here? Is he trying to become the next Jerry Colanego?

Anonymous said...

Kevin,

One big factor for Wolff moving so quickly on MLS is that the team just left in December. The fan base hasn't yet drifted away and Wolff is smart to seize on the momentum.

Another item to ponder is that perhaps this actually isn't too big of an initiative for Wolff. His efforts with the A's stadium surely means that his organization already has the core competencies needed to get a stadium built--he knows the political lay of the land and he has already assembled a stadium design team (according to a foxsports.com article).

I wonder if Wolff knows the A's at the Diridon site is absolutely not happening? (Perhaps because Fremont's a done deal?) And he wants to move quickly to grab that land for a soccer stadium?

Kevin said...

Anon,

I hear what you're saying but I'm not sure whether there was a lot of momentum to seize. I didn't get the sense that there was a huge outcry from Bay Area soccer fans when the Earthquakes left. Here's a team which won two titles but still couldn't generate enough interest and support to keep the team in SJ. Which is the reason why I'm puzzled as to why the A's want to pursue an expansion franchise.

Seems like a high risk, low reward situation.

Anonymous said...

The team left not because of attendance, but because San Jose State was taking too much of the pot from concessions and parking. Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), which owned and operated the team as well as three others, took over the team in 2002 as a caretaker until a local owner could be found, so they were never too wedded to the idea of staying in San Jose. Neither were they too concerned with running it well; they didn't put a lot of money into marketing, which is reflected in the mediocre attendance records.

All that being said, the big mystery is still: why is Wolff getting involved now? Why couldn't he have done something in the last three years? I have to think there is some kind of synergy at work here with the A's . . . and there's a lot of space at Pacific Commons to put a soccer stadium.

James said...

Anon...

I think you may very well be on to something with potential A's/MLS synergy. One thing that has puzzled me with respect to Wolff's Pacific Commons plan is why he wants so much land? Certainly, stacked parking at the Coliseum should afford Wolff enough room for his ballpark village visions. Or the alternate Fremont site next to the proposed Warm Springs BART station offers him better transit options. But going to the Pacific Commons side of I-800 certainly gives hime enough land to build both a soccer stadium and a baseball stadium, joint parking facilities to serve both stadiums, restaurants and other retail/entertainment venues for pre- and post games as well as act as a destination center for off-game days, a higher possibility that the numbers may work to construct a BART-stadium intermodal transportation system, and the ability to call the teams "the Oakland A's" and "the San Jose/Silicon Valley whatever-they-name-'em's."

I've never been much of a conspiracy theorist, but I'm beginning to wonder if this was Wolff's grand plan all along!

Marine Layer said...

The housing component could easily take up more than half of that 143 acres. Garages and surface parking another 20-40 acres (we're talking 10,000 spaces). That leaves the remainder for the ballpark, soccer stadium, hotel, retail, streets, public space, and other needs. Suddenly it doesn't sound like such a big piece of land, does it?

James said...

ML,

The original Pacific Commons plan was a high-density project, and there's no reason to believe that, other than the existing retail, the revised plan which includes a stadium and housing, won't be high-density as well. Any way you look at it, with cramming 2,000 housing units in there, much of it will undoubtedly be high-rise units. Three 18-story buildings could easily get you to 800 units. If Wolff stacks housing atop retail/restaurant, the concept could involve three-story townhouse units or loft-style units.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, there's more details on the soccer team at MLSNet.com. The pertinent details for A's fans:

"Wolff and Fisher are currently searching for a site to build a new baseball stadium for the Athletics. Wolff said on the call that the two might or might not be linked, but that the entire Bay Area will be considered when looking for a new home for the Earthquakes."

"Wolff said he and Fisher are excited about the possibility of taking a stake in soccer.

"We think we're hitting the soccer world at perhaps exactly the right time, both from an interest point of view and a financial point of view," he said. "We're planning to open an office (in the Bay Area) almost immediately. We hope to hit the ground running."

FrStUp said...

One longshot thought: what if the MLS franchise is where the name "Fremont" gets top billing? F gets the lesser franchise, the A's use SJ, and some of the prickly naming issues get settled. A deal cornerstone by no means, but part of the package to finish it?

Marine Layer said...

I've heard rumors of such a deal. Unfortunately, that puts Oakland on the outside looking in.

Before anyone gets started - the use of a city name isn't part of the territorial rights arrangement. It specifically applies to the physical location of a stadium.

Kevin said...

No doubt Wolff is thinking out of the box on this one. Hey maybe he can convince York to sell him the 49ers and then build a football stadium somewhere in the South Bay =)

Anonymous said...

San Jose says...Thanks in advance for nothing Lew!! YEAH, Just great! You won't even attempt to challenge (or resolve) the Giants territorial rights to San Jose, won't attempt to work with the City of San Jose on a ballpark project and won't attempt overall at bringing America's Pastime to the Bay Area's largest city...BUT YOU'LL BRING US MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER?!! Such a SWELL consolation prize...NOT!! What's next for San Jose Lew...PROFESSIONAL BADMINTON?!! Can't wait for that one...GO SABERCATS, SKYROCKETS, STEALTH AND SINGLE A GIANTS?!

James said...

Anonymous said: San Jose says...Thanks in advance for nothing Lew!! YEAH, Just great! You won't even attempt to challenge (or resolve) the Giants territorial rights to San Jose, won't attempt to work with the City of San Jose on a ballpark project and won't attempt overall at bringing America's Pastime to the Bay Area's largest city...

James replies: Why on earth would you believe Lew Wolff owes anything to the City of San Jose? If San Jose wants MLB within its borders, it's up to San Jose to make it happen! With the possible Fremont deal, the South Bay city may, at some point in the future, enjoy the benefit of having the team called the San Jose A's, without having the taffic and other infrastructure hassles incident to housing the team. If that's not enough for San Jose, it needs to get on the ball and find 140 or so acres of freeway-accessible land. This "whoa is Oakland" and "whoa is San Jose" crap has got to stop. Wolff and Fremont have figured out a way to make this work, something the other two cities have failed miserably to do.